I chose this book after reading the compelling description and was looking forward to a multi-generational story of life in Vietnam. I was really hoping for something along the lines of "Cane River" by Lalita Tademy or "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan. Perhaps the height of my expectations was my downfall. I mistakenly thought this book was based on the true story of the author's ancestors, and like some other reviewers, I was left disappointed. If it was a true story I probably would have rated the book higher because in that case the author is constrained by the facts. However, about halfway through I was frustrated so I re-read the intro and the dedication and realized it's not a true story, it's fiction. That caused my rating to go down because there is so much more she could have done to flesh out my understanding of her characters.I wanted to be invited in to experience the lives of these women, but I felt like I had an aerial view of their circumstances without really understanding why they behaved the way they did. They became paper dolls for me, and while I was told they had relationships with eachother, their interactions felt very superficial. The story jumped forward and back and there were several "revelations" at the end that would have impacted me more deeply if they had simply been placed in chronological order. I wish that I could pinpoint more accurately why I didn't love this book, but I think all in all I was just bored. I set it down several times in favor of other books and in the end I still don't feel like I know much about Vietnam or it's people, especially how they were affected by the war.I'm sad to rate it only two stars because the cover is beautiful, the visual descriptions were good, and there were some very poetic moments. I truly did want to like this book, but in the end I probably won't think about it again.